Acupuncture is one of the many skills employed within physiotherapy as part of an integrated approach to the management of pain and inflammation.
Physiotherapists base their treatments on scientific research and clinical evidence that Acupuncture can reduce pain by stimulating the brain and spinal cord to produce natural pain-relieving chemicals such as endorphins, melatonin (which promotes sleep) and serotonin (to promote well-being), to name but a few. These chemicals assist the body’s healing processes and offer pain relief as a precursor to other treatments such as manual therapy or exercise in order to aid recovery.
Traditional acupuncture involves the use of single-use, pre-sterilised disposable needles of varying widths, lengths and materials that pierce the skin at the acupuncture points. I determine the locations of these points on the basis of an assessment of the cause of the imbalance. A number of needles may be used during each treatment, and these are typically left in position for between 20 and 30 minutes before being removed.
Trigger point acupuncture may also be used to facilitate relaxation in specific muscles following traumas, for longer-term unresolved muscle pain, or as a means of increasing muscle length in order to aid stretch and rehabilitation. In the latter case, the needle is inserted into the affected muscle until the tissue is felt to relax under the needle, which is then removed. Trigger point needling often produces an effect much more quickly, and therefore, does not require the 20–30-minute treatment time.
Your questions answered
If you have any questions about acupuncture, please feel free to browse the most commonly asked questions below.
Should you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.
How does Acupuncture work ?
Acupuncturists insert very fine needles at precisely located points to connect with your body’s qi. They will decide which points are right for you after a detailed consultation covering every aspect of your health and lifestyle. The aim is to direct the flow of qi to trigger your body’s healing response and to restore physical, emotional and mental equilibrium. Treatment is designed to affect your whole being as well as your symptoms so, as the condition being treated improves, you may notice other health problems resolve and an increased feeling of wellbeing.
How can Acupuncture help me?
The use of acupuncture needling for the treatment of pain is supported by an ever-growing body of scientific evidence.
Scientific research has examined the effectiveness of acupuncture for various conditions. In recent years large studies have begun to emerge which have helped to support the benefits of acupuncture treatment. For example it is accepted that acupuncture can help tension-type headaches and pain of osteoarthritis, for example osteoarthritis of the knee, especially when it is used in conjunction with other treatments such as physiotherapy.
Acupuncture combined with physiotherapy is widely accepted within both the National Health Service (NHS) and private practice. This is evident in the recommendation by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) that acupuncture should be available as a cost-effective short-term treatment for persistent non-specific low back pain (source: NICE 2009).
Is Acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is safe when practised by a member of the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP) because of the strict hygiene guidelines that must be adhered to, and the training courses and educational updates that are required in order to stay on the membership register.
The needles are disposable, pre-sterilised and individually packaged. These are often supplied in guide-tubes for easy insertion, which means that there is no risk of anything touching the needle during the process.
Acupuncture needle in a blister pack.
Physiotherapists undertake a responsibility to themselves and their patients, which is that they must be sure from the outset of their treatment that the principles of safe, hygienic insertion of needles and subsequent disposal are adhered to at all times. Used needles are disposed of in special containers that are destroyed by incineration.
Does Acupuncture hurt ?
Acupuncture needles are so fine that most people don’t feel them being inserted. It is normal to feel a mild tingle or dull ache as the acupuncturist adjusts the needle to direct Qi. While the needles are in place most people feel deeply relaxed which can continue after they are removed.